Train horns quieting down in rural Kane
By Linda Girardi For The Beacon-News March 18, 2013 12:54PM
Kane County Board member Drew Frasz, R-Elburn
Updated: April 20, 2013 6:23AM
The locomotive’s whistle howling through on a summer night has run its course in rural Kane County.
Approximately 120 trains pass daily through the small village of LaFox, sounding horns that can be heard in all directions.
“You can hear the train honking over 4-square miles and on a quiet summer night you can hear them 10 miles away,” Kane County Board member Drew Frasz said.
The County Board approved a contract for engineering services for the installation of a wayside horn system at the Union Pacific Railroad at grade intersections of LaFox and Brundige roads, north of the Mill Creek subdivision.
Frasz, R-Elburn, said the warning signals will resemble speakers and produce a much different tone.
“The warnings won’t be as piercing and will be directed right at traffic in the area of the crossing,” he said.
The engineering firm Hanson Professional Services of Oak Brook was awarded a $63,000 contract to complete phase II engineering and phase III construction engineering for the project.
The county received a $250,000 state grant through the office of former State Sen. Chris Lauzen — who now is the chairman of the County Board. Blackberry Township set aside $10,000 and the LaFox Civic Association contributed $20,000 toward the project.
Frasz, who has been working on the project since his 2008 County Board campaign, said the new warning signals cannot go up soon enough.
“I get people who call me every month asking how the project is going – come spring when people open their windows is when I get the most calls. I would like to say they’ll be in by the end of the year, but realistically it will probably be early next year,” he said.
Frasz said he has never lived more than a half-mile away from the Union Pacific west line.
“I have been hearing trains literally since I was born, but the amount of freight traffic has increased dramatically, coupled with the new commuter train stations in La Fox and Elburn – you can imagine the honking,” he said.
Frasz said there is a point between LaFox and Brundige roads where the trains are honking from both directions.
“It is a high concentration of horn noise in a high concentration of residences,” he said.
“I have been told it is one of the top train corridors in the nation – as a kid growing up there was an hour between trains – now it is just minutes,” Frasz said.